Category Archives: Vouchers

Why not allow everyone to decide what school their kid goes to by using the voucher system?

Why not allow everyone to decide what school their kid goes to by using the voucher system?

Washington D.C. spends almost $30,000 per student in their public school system and it seems to me that it would be far more inexpensive to send kids to private schools through the voucher system.

School choice should be a slam-dunk issue. There’s very powerful evidence that we can provide superior education for lower cost if we shift away from monopoly government schools to a system based on parental choice.

Yet some leftists oppose this reform, even though poor and minority kids would be the biggest beneficiaries. Here’s some of what I wrote last yearabout how the left deals with this issue.

…the school choice issue exposes the dividing line between honest liberals and power-hungry liberals. Regardless of ideology, any decent person will favor reforms that enable poor kids to escape horrible government schools. Lots of liberals are decent people. The ones who oppose school choice, by contrast, are…well, you can fill in the blank.

The Washington Post, to its credit, belongs in the “decent” category. Here’s some of the paper’s editorial on school choice in Louisiana.

Nine of 10 Louisiana children who receive vouchers to attend private schools are black. All are poor and, if not for the state assistance, would be consigned to low-performing or failing schools with little chance of learning the skills they will need to succeed as adults. So it’s bewildering, if not downright perverse, for the Obama administration to use the banner of civil rights to bring a misguided suit that would block these disadvantaged students from getting the better educational opportunities they are due.

The editorial eviscerates the nonsensical data that the Obama Administration is using as it puts the interests of powerful teacher unions above the needs of disadvantaged children.

The government argues that allowing students to leave their public schools for vouchered private schools threatens to disrupt the desegregation of school systems. …Since most of the students using vouchers are black, it is, as State Education Superintendent John White pointed out to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, “a little ridiculous” to argue that the departure of mostly black students to voucher schools would make their home school systems less white. …The government’s argument that “the loss of students through the voucher program reversed much of the progress made toward integration” becomes even more absurd upon examination of the cases it cited in its petition. …a school that lost five white students through vouchers and saw a shift in racial composition from 29.6 percent white to 28.9 percent white. Another school that lost six black students and saw a change in racial composition from 30.1 percent black to 29.2 percent black. “Though the students . . . almost certainly would not have noticed a difference, the racial bean counters at the DOJ see worsening segregation,”… The number that should matter to federal officials is this: Roughly 86 percent of students in the voucher program came from schools that were rated D or F. Mr. White called ironic using rules to fight racism to keep students in failing schools; we think it appalling.

Not only appalling, but also hypocritical. The President is sending his children to an ultra-expensive private school, but doesn’t want poor families to have any choice to get a good education.

Unfortunately, though, it is not a surprise from an administration that…has proven to be hostile — as witnessed by its petty machinations against D.C.’s voucher program — to the school choice afforded by private-school vouchers. …Louisiana parents are clamoring for the choice afforded by this program; the state is insisting on accountability; poor students are benefiting. The federal government should get out of the way.

Kudos to the Washington Post for urging a withdrawal of federal intervention. Now if we can get the Post to apply the same federalism lesson to Medicaid,transportation, and other issues, we’ll be making real progress.

For more information on the overall issue of school choice, I strongly recommend this video from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity Foundation.

By the way, don’t believe propaganda from politicians and union bosses about “underfunded” schools. The United States spends more per capita than any other country.

This isn’t an issue of money. The problem is that monopolies don’t deliver good results. Particularly monopolies controlled by self-serving union bosses that use political muscle to protect undeserved privileges.

P.S. Not surprisingly, Thomas Sowell nails this issue, as does Walter Williams, with both criticizing the President for sacrificing the interests of minority children to protect the monopoly privileges of teacher unions.

P.P.S. Chile has reformed its education system with vouchers, as have Swedenand the Netherlands, and all those nations are getting good results.

P.P.P.S. There are some other honest and sincere liberals on this issue.

Related posts:

Open letter to Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney on school vouchers

The Machine: The Truth Behind Teachers Unions Published on Sep 4, 2012 by ReasonTV America’s public education system is failing. We’re spending more money on education but not getting better results for our children. That’s because the machine that runs the K-12 education system isn’t designed to produce better schools. It’s designed to produce more […]

Public schools need more competition and vouchers is the answer

Public schools need more competition and vouchers is the answer. Related posts: Powerful Evidence for School Choice April 22, 2013 by Dan Mitchell I expressed pessimism a few days ago about the possibility of replacing the corrupt internal revenue code with a flat tax. Either now or in the future. But that’s an exception to my […]

Brummett still resistant to vouchers because he wants us to save public schools at all cost

John Brummett in his article, “A new civil rights struggle in Little Rock?” Arkansas News Burea, August 25, 2011, asserted the main role vouchers should have is  “providing new models for regular public schools to emulate, not about replacing regular public schools.” The Heritage Foundation cares nothing about saving the public schools. If the public […]

Liberal from SLATE asks “What if there were no private high schools?”

Liberal from SLATE asks “What if there were no private high schools?” Washington D.C. spends almost $30,000 per student in their public school system and it seems to me that it would be far more inexpensive to send kids to private schools through the voucher system.   August 29, 2013 12:20PM A School Monopoly? What […]

Underperforming schools are built on the backs of our nation’s most vulnerable children

   We got to put in school choice because the current underperforming schools are built on the backs of our nation’s most vulnerable children. Who’s Afraid of School Profits? By Jason Bedrick Share Tweet Like Share Plus Should there be a separation of school and profit? Many opponents of education reform seem to think so. […]

The Empirical Evidence on School Choice

Milton Friedman on School Vouchers _______________ Just the facts Mam. APRIL 18, 2013 5:17PM School Choice Works By  JASON BEDRICK SHARE The evidence is in: school choice works. Yesterday, the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice released their third edition of their report “A Win-Win Solution: The Empirical Evidence on School Choice.” The report provides a literature […]

Open letter to President Obama (Part 290) (Vouchers)

Milton Friedman – Public Schools / Voucher System Published on May 9, 2012 by BasicEconomics The Machine: The Truth Behind Teachers Unions Published on Sep 4, 2012 by ReasonTV America’s public education system is failing. We’re spending more money on education but not getting better results for our children. That’s because the machine that runs […]

Open letter to President Obama (Part 287) (on vouchers)

(This letter was mailed before Oct 25, 2012.) President Obama c/o The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500 Dear Mr. President, I know that you receive 20,000 letters a day and that you actually read 10 of them every day. I really do respect you for trying to get a pulse on […]

Open letter to President Obama (Part 254) (on vouchers)

The Machine: The Truth Behind Teachers Unions Published on Sep 4, 2012 by ReasonTV America’s public education system is failing. We’re spending more money on education but not getting better results for our children. That’s because the machine that runs the K-12 education system isn’t designed to produce better schools. It’s designed to produce more […]

We need school choice and the voucher program that Milton Friedman envisioned

 Funding Government by the Minute Published on Mar 28, 2012 At the rate the federal government spends, it runs out of money on July 31. What programs should be cut to balance the budget and fund the government for the remaining five months of the year? Cutting NASA might buy two days; cutting the Navy […]

Liberal from SLATE asks “What if there were no private high schools?”

Liberal from SLATE asks “What if there were no private high schools?”

Washington D.C. spends almost $30,000 per student in their public school system and it seems to me that it would be far more inexpensive to send kids to private schools through the voucher system.

 

August 29, 2013 12:20PM

A School Monopoly? What a Great Idea?

I’m reluctant to give more attention to the steaming pile of dreck that Slate is using as linkbait this morning, but someone should point out how incredibly asinine it is. The author argues that anyone who sends their child to a private school is a “bad person” because, well, see for yourself:

I am not an education policy wonk: I’m just judgmental. But it seems to me that if every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve. This would not happen immediately. It could take generations. Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good.

The first sentence is clearly true but it’s downhill from there. There’s a lot of economic illiteracy to unpack there as well as some rather frightening assumptions about the duty of individuals to sacrifice themselves for some ill-defined “common good” (on Twitter, the New York Times’s Ross Douthat notes that this argument has an eerie resemblence to the Italian fascist motto, “Everything for the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state”).

I’ll let others heap on the mocking and scorn that this argument so richly deserves. What I want to focus on is the evidence.

Had this self-declared non-education wonk bothered to take even a cursory look at the research literature, she’d find that competition actually improves the public schools. Of 23 studies of the impact of school choice programs on public school performance, 22 studies find a small but statistically significant positive effect and one finds no visible effect. None find any harm.

The reason that competition works is because it makes schools responsive to the needs of parents. What’s so astounding is that the author wants schools to be responsive to parents, but thinks that the best way to do it is to have a government monopoly, as though Ma Bell would’ve eventually produced an iPhone.

Many of my (morally bankrupt) colleagues send their children to private schools. I asked them to tell me why. Here is the response that most stuck with me: “In our upper-middle-class world, it is hard not to pay for something if you can and you think it will be good for your kid.” I get it: You want an exceptional arts program and computer animation and maybe even Mandarin. You want a cohesive educational philosophy. You want creativity, not teaching to the test. You want great outdoor space and small classrooms and personal attention. You know who else wants those things? Everyone.

Whatever you think your children need—deserve—from their school experience, assume that the parents at the nearby public housing complex want the same. No, don’t just assume it. Do something about it. Send your kids to school with their kids. Use the energy you have otherwise directed at fighting to get your daughter a slot at the competitive private school to fight for more computers at the public school. Use your connections to power and money and innovation to make your local school—the one you are now sending your child to—better. Don’t just acknowledge your liberal guilt—listen to it.

Scratch away the economic ignorance and smug self-righteousness and you find a compelling argument for school choice. Yes, low-income families also want access to good quality schools that meet their kids’ individual needs. But forcing everyone into the same school isn’t going to help. The author correctly identifies the problem but fails to arrive at the right solution. If we want true equality of opportunity, we should expand the educational options available to low- and middle-income families, not restrict the choices of everyone.

 

Related posts:

Open letter to Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney on school vouchers

The Machine: The Truth Behind Teachers Unions Published on Sep 4, 2012 by ReasonTV America’s public education system is failing. We’re spending more money on education but not getting better results for our children. That’s because the machine that runs the K-12 education system isn’t designed to produce better schools. It’s designed to produce more […]

 

Public schools need more competition and vouchers is the answer

Public schools need more competition and vouchers is the answer. Related posts: Powerful Evidence for School Choice April 22, 2013 by Dan Mitchell I expressed pessimism a few days ago about the possibility of replacing the corrupt internal revenue code with a flat tax. Either now or in the future. But that’s an exception to my […]

 

Brummett still resistant to vouchers because he wants us to save public schools at all cost

John Brummett in his article, “A new civil rights struggle in Little Rock?” Arkansas News Burea, August 25, 2011, asserted the main role vouchers should have is  “providing new models for regular public schools to emulate, not about replacing regular public schools.” The Heritage Foundation cares nothing about saving the public schools. If the public […]

 

Underperforming schools are built on the backs of our nation’s most vulnerable children

   We got to put in school choice because the current underperforming schools are built on the backs of our nation’s most vulnerable children. Who’s Afraid of School Profits? By Jason Bedrick Share Tweet Like Share Plus Should there be a separation of school and profit? Many opponents of education reform seem to think so. […]

 

The Empirical Evidence on School Choice

Milton Friedman on School Vouchers _______________ Just the facts Mam. APRIL 18, 2013 5:17PM School Choice Works By  JASON BEDRICK SHARE The evidence is in: school choice works. Yesterday, the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice released their third edition of their report “A Win-Win Solution: The Empirical Evidence on School Choice.” The report provides a literature […]

 

Open letter to President Obama (Part 290) (Vouchers)

Milton Friedman – Public Schools / Voucher System Published on May 9, 2012 by BasicEconomics The Machine: The Truth Behind Teachers Unions Published on Sep 4, 2012 by ReasonTV America’s public education system is failing. We’re spending more money on education but not getting better results for our children. That’s because the machine that runs […]

 

Open letter to President Obama (Part 287) (on vouchers)

(This letter was mailed before Oct 25, 2012.) President Obama c/o The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500 Dear Mr. President, I know that you receive 20,000 letters a day and that you actually read 10 of them every day. I really do respect you for trying to get a pulse on […]

 

Open letter to President Obama (Part 254) (on vouchers)

The Machine: The Truth Behind Teachers Unions Published on Sep 4, 2012 by ReasonTV America’s public education system is failing. We’re spending more money on education but not getting better results for our children. That’s because the machine that runs the K-12 education system isn’t designed to produce better schools. It’s designed to produce more […]

 

We need school choice and the voucher program that Milton Friedman envisioned

 Funding Government by the Minute Published on Mar 28, 2012 At the rate the federal government spends, it runs out of money on July 31. What programs should be cut to balance the budget and fund the government for the remaining five months of the year? Cutting NASA might buy two days; cutting the Navy […]

 

Listing of transcripts and videos of Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “What is wrong with our schools?” on www.theDailyHatch.org

Everywhere school vouchers have been tried they have been met with great success. Why do you think President Obama got rid of them in Washington D.C.? It was a political disaster for him because the school unions had always opposed them and their success made Obama’s allies look bad. In 1980 when I first sat […]

 

Open letter to President Obama (Part 388)

The True Cost of Public Education

Uploaded by on Mar 5, 2010

What is the true cost of public education? According to a new study by the Cato Institute, some of the nation’s largest public school districts are underreporting the true cost of government-run education programs.

http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=11432

Cato Education Analyst Adam B. Schaeffer explains that the nations five largest metro areas and the District of Columbia are blurring the numbers on education costs. On average, per-pupil spending in these areas is 44 percent higher than officially reported. Districts on average spent nearly $18,000 per student and yet claimed to spend just $12,500 last year.

__________

 

President Obama c/o The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I know that you receive 20,000 letters a day and that you actually read 10 of them every day. I really do respect you for trying to get a pulse on what is going on out here.

It is impossible to have a public debate about education policy if public schools can’t be straight forward about their spending. The voucher system would be so much cheaper than what we have now and the kids would learn more too.

Lindsey Burke

June 21, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Gallup has just released its annual “Confidence in American Institutions” poll, which the company has conducted since 1973. This year’s results revealed that just 29 percent of Americans have confidence in our nation’s public schools.

That number has declined from 33 percent since 2008 and is down from 58 percent in 1973. But does our lack of confidence in public schools make us un-American?

Americans have always strived for the best. Our public schools are far from it. Across the country, just one-third of children are proficient in reading. In the urban centers, that number is tragically lower. In Chicago—where public school teachers, at the behest of the government unions, are set to strike in order to demand a 30 percent pay raise—just 15 percent of children are proficient in reading.

Americans by and large also believe that individuals are better equipped than government to innovate and produce greatness and that markets work to lift everyone’s standard of living. Our monopolistic public school system fails that test, too.

Because of pervasive assignment-by-zip code policies, students are “zoned” to their closet public schools regardless of whether they meets the students’ needs. As a result, public schools get a steady stream of students—and dollars—no matter how poorly they serve the public.

And those dollars are considerable. Per-pupil expenditures in government schools have more than doubled in the years since Gallup began surveying public institutions. Yet quality remains low.

So it’s no surprise that Americans increasingly seem to be looking to educational innovation outside the public school system as it sprouts up all over the country. Charter schools are now mainstream, state after state is implementing school choice options, and online learning is proliferating.

Parents know they have an increasing number of quality education options for their children that extend beyond the hallways of public schools. The lack of confidence in public schools does not mean we have lost faith in the importance of education to improve outcomes or economic mobility.

Instead, Gallup’s poll shows that Americans are increasingly gravitating toward Milton Friedman’s belief that public education doesn’t have to mean government-run schools.

_______________

Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733, lowcostsqueegees@yahoo.com

We got to give Milton Friedman’s voucher system a chance!!!

We got to give Milton Friedman’s voucher system a chance!!!

Happy Birthday, Milton Friedman: Champion of Educational Freedom

July 31, 2013 at 11:30 am

Newscom

Newscom

On the late, great, Nobel Prize–winning economist Milton Friedman’s 101st birthday, it is fitting to remember his legacy of school choice and continue the fight for educational opportunity he left for us.

“A stable and democratic society is impossible without widespread acceptance of some common set of values and without a minimum degree of literacy and knowledge on the part of most citizens. Education contributes to both,” Friedman once remarked.

Friedman knew that education is essential for a free society to flourish, but he understood that government-administered schooling is not the way to achieve quality educational options for all children.

Friedman was the father of the educational choice movement, which he first conceived through the idea of school vouchers. The Friedman philosophy of education promotes educational opportunity where parents are free to choose an education that best meets the needs of their children, with money following the children to any schools of their choice: public, private, charter, virtual, or home school.

Choice releases children from government-run schools assigned to them based on their parents’ zip codes. Options such as vouchers empower parents to choose better alternatives for their children’s education. Choice improves the amount of educational options available to families and promotes competition, applying economic pressure that can lead to better performance in the public system as well.

Friedman knew that educational choice is a win-win solution for everyone.

Friedman’s legacy of educational choice continues to expand. Several states now have a plethora of educational options: school vouchers, tax credits, charter schools, online learning, and education savings accounts (ESAs).

ESAs have especially refined Friedman’s original concept of a school voucher. A family with an ESA can use 90 percent of the per-child amount of state funds that would have gone to the child’s assigned public schools to instead be deposited directly into an ESA in the child’s name. The money in the savings account follows the child and can be used by parents to finance a variety of education-related services and providers. They can, for example, use their ESA funds to pay for private school tuition, online learning, special education services, and educational therapies—all while saving taxpayer money. It is an educational option that would have made Friedman proud.

Although educational freedom continues to grow, there are still millions of children around America stuck in low-performing schools.

Friedman understood that vouchers are only a means to educational freedom:

The purpose of vouchers is to enable parents to have free choice, and the purpose of having free choice is to provide competition and allow the educational industry to get out of the 17th century and get into the 21st century and have more innovation and more evolvement.

In 2013, America faces a fork in the road: One direction is toward educational freedom; the other is toward increased centralization through one-size-fits-all efforts such as the Common Core national standards.

In honor of Friedman’s birthday, we must rededicate ourselves to the unfinished task remaining before us, the true end of his philosophy of educational choice: educational freedom in America.

Related posts:

Milton Friedman’s views on vouchers have not been tried?

On the Arkansas Times Blog the person using the username “Jake da Snake” noted, “Friedman also railed long and hard for school vouchers to be adopted, to little avail…” (June 11, 2011). Milton Friedman firmly believed, “competition is a way in which both public and private schools can be required to satisfy their customers.” Here […]

“Friedman Friday” Free or equal? 30 years after Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose (Part 4)

Johan Norberg – Free or Equal – Free to Choose 30 years later 4/5 Published on Jun 10, 2012 by BasicEconomics In 1980 economist and Nobel laureate Milton Friedman inspired market reform in the West and revolutions in the East with his celebrated television series “Free To Choose.” Thirty years later, in this one-hour documentary, […]

“Friedman Friday”Free or equal? 30 years after Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose (Part 3)

Johan Norberg – Free or Equal – Free to Choose 30 years later 3/5 Published on Jun 10, 2012 by BasicEconomics In 1980 economist and Nobel laureate Milton Friedman inspired market reform in the West and revolutions in the East with his celebrated television series “Free To Choose.” Thirty years later, in this one-hour documentary, […]

“Friedman Friday” Free or equal? 30 years after Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose (Part 2)

Johan Norberg – Free or Equal – Free to Choose 30 years later 2/5 Published on Jun 10, 2012 by BasicEconomics In 1980 economist and Nobel laureate Milton Friedman inspired market reform in the West and revolutions in the East with his celebrated television series “Free To Choose.” Thirty years later, in this one-hour documentary, […]

Milton Friedman’s advice to the Defense Dept

_____________________________________ Milton Friedman On Charlie Rose (Part One) The late Milton Friedman discusses economics and otherwise with Charlie Rose. _________________________________________ Milton Friedman: Life and ideas – Part 01 Milton Friedman: Life and ideas A brief biography of Milton Friedman _____________________________________ Stossel – “Free to Choose” (Milton Friedman) 1/6 6-10-10. pt.1 of 6. Stossel discusses Milton […]

“Friedman Friday”Free or equal? 30 years after Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose (Part 1)

Free or Equal?: Johan Norberg Updates Milton & Rose Friedman’s Free to Choose I got this below from Reason Magazine: Swedish economist Johan Norberg is the host of the new documentary Free or Equal, which retraces and updates the 1980 classic Free to Choose, featuring Milton and Rose Friedman. Like the Friedmans, Norberg travels the globe […]

Milton Friedman: “Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program”

______________________________________ Milton Friedman On Charlie Rose (Part One) The late Milton Friedman discusses economics and otherwise with Charlie Rose. _________________________________________ Milton Friedman: Life and ideas – Part 01 Milton Friedman: Life and ideas A brief biography of Milton Friedman _____________________________________ Stossel – “Free to Choose” (Milton Friedman) 1/6 6-10-10. pt.1 of 6. Stossel discusses Milton […]

Milton Friedman’s Chicago Boys started the Chilean Miracle and it is still helping ordinary people today!!!

Milton Friedman and Chile – The Power of Choice Uploaded on May 13, 2011 In this excerpt from Free To Choose Network’s “The Power of Choice (2006)”, we set the record straight on Milton Friedman’s dealings with Chile — including training the Chicago Boys and his meeting with Augusto Pinochet. Was the tremendous prosperity unleashed […]

Milton Friedman and Chile an update

Milton Friedman was a great economist and a fine speaker. ___________________ I have written before about Milton Friedman’s influence on the economy of Chile. Now I saw this fine article below from http://www.heritage.org  and below that article I have included an article from the Wall Street Journal that talks about Milton Friedman’s influence on Chile. I […]

“Friedman Friday” Milton Friedman’s biography (Part 2)(Interview by Charlie Rose of Milton Friedman part 3)

Biography Part 2 In 1977, when I reached the age of 65, I retired from teaching at the University of Chicago. At the invitation of Glenn Campbell, Director of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, I shifted my scholarly work to Hoover where I remain a Senior Research Fellow. We moved to San Francisco, purchasing […]

By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Milton Friedman | Edit | Comments (0)

Open letter to President Obama (Part 378)

The True Cost of Public Education

Uploaded by on Mar 5, 2010

What is the true cost of public education? According to a new study by the Cato Institute, some of the nation’s largest public school districts are underreporting the true cost of government-run education programs.

http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=11432

Cato Education Analyst Adam B. Schaeffer explains that the nations five largest metro areas and the District of Columbia are blurring the numbers on education costs. On average, per-pupil spending in these areas is 44 percent higher than officially reported. Districts on average spent nearly $18,000 per student and yet claimed to spend just $12,500 last year.

It is impossible to have a public debate about education policy if public schools can’t be straight forward about their spending.

______________

President Obama c/o The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I know that you receive 20,000 letters a day and that you actually read 10 of them every day. I really do respect you for trying to get a pulse on what is going on out here. David Axelrod has said“They help him focus on the real problems people are facing. He really a absorbs these letters, and often shares then with us.” 

I watched the video by the Democrat National Convention on 9-6-12 that showed your beautiful wife saying about your family: “We sit around the dinner table (with our kids) and he is he last to be asked, ‘Oh yeah, how was your day Dad?’ You know really he is an afterthought.”

As a father and a husband I want to thank you for demonstrating to others that men need to keep their priorities straight.

If we want the best education possible at the lowest cost for the inner city youth then we need to install the voucher system.

Census Bureau Confirms: DC Spends $29,409 / pupil

Posted by Andrew J. Coulson

Four years ago, I wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post revealing that DC spent nearly $25,000 per pupil during the 2007-08 school year. I calculated this figure from the public budget documents of the District of Columbia, which I subsequently summarized and linked on this blog.

No education reporter followed up on my findings, and much lower per pupil figures continue to be reported to this day. My $25,000 figure was even greeted with skepticism by analysts at free market think tanks. One state education policy analyst wrote to say that my figure was “out of line with credible information,” and that I gave my critics “too much ammunition with this clearly questionable set of statistics.”

Indeed, the Census Bureau figures for DC’s total K-12 expenditures were substantially lower than mine. I made a note to track down the discrepancy, but other projects intervened. When I updated my calculation to use DC budget estimates for the 2008-09 school year, I found that District spending had risen to over $28,000 / pupil. The comparable number for that year reported by the Bureau of the Census was just $18,181 (which you get by dividing the total expenditure figure in Table 1 by the enrollment figure in Table 15).

So you can see why most folks were skeptical. Skeptical, but wrong.

Back in March of this year I asked my then research intern to contact the Census Bureau and ask where they got their total spending data. It turns out, they got them from a DCPS official. We presented evidence to the Bureau that that DCPS official had missed a few line items when completing the Census Bureau’s forms—to the tune of about $400 million. The Census Bureau agreed and is in the process of obtaining corrected data for the 2008-09 year. In the meantime, they made sure to ask DC officials to include all relevant items when filling out their forms for the 2009-10 school year. The result: Census Bureau data now show DC spent a total of $29,409 per pupil (obtained by dividing total expenditures in Table 1 by enrollment in Table 15). This is just a bit higher than my calculation for the preceding year.

Kudos to the Census Bureau for taking the initiative and getting DC to accurately report its public school expenditures. Now that education reporters can simply open a Census Bureau .pdf file and divide one number by another, I wonder if any will report what DC really spends per pupil? I suspect that they still will not, continuing to mislead the general public, but I would be delighted to be proven wrong.

Oh, and, BTW, this spending figure is about triple what the DC voucher program spends per pupil—and the voucher students have a much higher graduation rate and perform as well or better academically.

__________

Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733, lowcostsqueegees@yahoo.com

Underperforming schools are built on the backs of our nation’s most vulnerable children

 

 We got to put in school choice because the current underperforming schools are built on the backs of our nation’s most vulnerable children.

Who’s Afraid of School Profits?

Should there be a separation of school and profit? Many opponents of education reform seem to think so.

Case in point, a blog post at the Washington Post yesterday decried “outside forces that want to make big profits on the backs of our nation’s most vulnerable children.” Setting aside that the vast majority of private schools are nonprofit, the author apparently misses the fact that parents choose to send their kids to these schools. (Does it make sense to complain that other businesses are profiting “on the backs” of their paying customers?) In order to persuade parents to switch to private schools, they must offer parents something that the free-to-attend government schools do not. Even when a school choice program covers the full cost of private school tuition, the parents would merely be financially indifferent. To motivate parents to choose something other than the default government school option, private schools still must offer something better.

Moreover, it is absurd to think that profit—in the sense of financial gain—is limited only to the for-profit sector. Do teachers, principals, and other school staff from janitors to bus drivers “profit” from their salaries or wages? What of the profits made by the corporations that publish the textbooks that students read? Or construct school buildings? Or manufacture desks, whiteboards, pens, pencils, and playgrounds? Whether government- or privately-run, nearly every adult involved in the formal education process is earning a “profit” short of the parents who volunteer to chaperone the high school dance.

Those who denounce “profits” in education simply don’t understand the role of profits in a market. Perhaps they are confused because in the government-run education system with which they are familiar, there is little connection between financial gain and meeting the needs of students. In a competitive market, by contrast, profits (and, just as importantly, losses) provide valuable information. As explained in Herbert Walberg and Joseph Bast’s excellent book, Education and Capitalism: How Overcoming Our Fear of Markets and Economics Can Improve America’s Schools (which is celebrating its 10th anniversary):

In a capitalist economy, profits are the reward earned by firms that maximize the quality of services and goods, minimize overhead and bureaucracy, motivate their workers to achieve high and consistent levels of productivity, and avoid unnecessary expenditures. Successful firms sell better, cheaper, or better and cheaper products and services than do other firms. Customers notice, and business gradually shifts from inefficient to efficient firms. […]

Low-performing government schools don’t gradually lose customers and face the threat of closure, the way an inefficiently run business does. As a result, there is little urgency for reform. Their assets do not move from the control of those who have misused them into the hands of others who could do a better job. (Pages 98-9)

In our existing education system, only the financially well-off can afford to live in the expensive districts with high-performing government schools or to pay for private schooling. Without school choice programs, low-income families are locked out of these markets. Instead, their only option is the local, assigned, government school. If I blogged for WaPo, I might say that these underperforming schools are built on “the backs of our nation’s most vulnerable children.”

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Public school staffing has skyrocketed, we must turn to voucher system

Milton Friedman – Public Schools / Voucher System (Q&A) Part 2 Published on May 7, 2012 by BasicEconomics __________ Max Brantley of the Arkansas Times Blog is always critical of the voucher system but has he taken a closer look at what has been going on in the public schools the last few decades with […]

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Open letter to President Obama (Part 314)

Milton Friedman – Public Schools / Voucher System (Q&A) Part 2

Published on May 7, 2012 by

__________

President Obama c/o The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I know that you receive 20,000 letters a day and that you actually read 10 of them every day. I really do respect you for trying to get a pulse on what is going on out here.

Since 1950 the staffing of public schools has skyrocketed but we are getting a good return on our money. We need to turn to the voucher system that Milton Friedman proposed.

Lindsey Burke

October 24, 2012 at 7:00 pm

The Friedman Foundation has published an excellent report detailing the administrative bloat plaguing our nation’s public schools. The School Staffing Surge: Decades of Employment Growth in America’s Public Schools shows dramatic increases in teaching and non-teaching staff over the past five decades despite modest increases in student enrollment.

As we detailed in a recent report on growth in non-teaching positions in public schools across the country, student enrollment has increased just 8 percent since 1970, while the number of teachers has increased 60 percent, and the number of non-teaching administrative and other staff has increased 138 percent. (continues below chart)

The Friedman report, authored by Ben Scafidi, PhD, takes an even longer look, demonstrating that since 1950, public school enrollment has increased 96 percent, while the number of teachers has increased 252 percent and the number of non-teaching personnel (administrators and other staff) has increased an astonishing 702 percent. “Put differently,” Scafidi notes, “the rise in non-teaching staff was more than seven times faster than the increase in students”:

Between 1950 and 2009, the pupil-staff ratio declined to 7.8 students per public school employee from 19.3 students per public school employee. By 2009, there were fewer than eight public school students per adult employed in the public school system. The drop in the pupil-teacher ratio also was large—the pupil-teacher ratio was 27.5 students per teacher in 1950 and only 15.4 in 2009.

Scafidi also shows how this administrative bloat has affected schools on a state-by-state basis (and uses an interactive map to make the point). Of note: “Nine states with declining student populations had significant increases in public school personnel—D.C., Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Vermont.”

The Friedman report notes that the dramatic reduction in class size over the decades has not led to increases in student achievement. Why? As Scafidi reports, an increase in teacher quantity has not produced an increase in teacher quality:

As public schools have reduced class sizes continually since at least 1950, they have had to hire more teachers. And, the evidence is in—the disparity in effectiveness across teachers is considerable. Accordingly, state governments and local public school boards should have been more concerned with improving teacher effectiveness than lowering class sizes.

Continuing a trend of growing staff positions in our nation’s public schools won’t create the types of improvements that the system so desperately needs.

Instead, public school districts should trim bureaucracy and work on long-term reform options for better targeting of taxpayer resources. And decision making should be decentralized, placing staffing and other decisions in the hands of principals, teachers, and parents.

Finally, parents—and teachers—should have options. We’ll never see improvement in our nation’s education system without providing students with a choice about which schools—public, private, virtual, or homeschooling—will best meet their unique learning needs.

___________

Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733, lowcostsqueegees@yahoo.com

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Public schools need more competition and vouchers is the answer

Public schools need more competition and vouchers is the answer.

Related posts:

I expressed pessimism a few days ago about the possibility of replacing the corrupt internal revenue code with a flat tax. Either now or in the future.

But that’s an exception to my general feeling that we’re moving in the right direction on public policy. I’ve shared a list of reasons to be optimistic, even on issues such as  Obamacare and the Laffer Curve.

Education is another area where we should be hopeful. Simply stated, it’s increasingly difficult for defenders of the status quo to rationalize pouring more money into the failed government education monopoly. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, never has so much been spent so recklessly with such meager results.

That’s true regardless of whether Democrats are throwing good money after bad or whether Republicans are throwing good money after bad.

Fortunately, a growing number of people are realizing that the answer is markets and competition. School Choice CartoonThat’s one of the reasons why we’re seeing progress all over the country. Policy makers have implemented varying degrees of school choice in states such as Indiana, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Colorado, Florida, Arizona, and even California.

Is this having a positive impact on educational outcomes and other key variables? The answer, not surprisingly, is yes.

Here are some of the details from a new study published by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.

This report surveys the empirical research on school choice. …the empirical evidence consistently shows that choice improves academic outcomes for participants and public schools, saves taxpayer money, moves students into more integrated classrooms, and strengthens the shared civic values and practices essential to American democracy.

The data on academic outcomes surely is the most important bit of information, so let’s specifically review those findings.

Twelve empirical studies have examined academic outcomes for school choice participants using random assignment, the “gold standard” of social science. Of these, 11 find that choice improves student outcomes—six that all students benefit and five that some benefit and some are not affected. One study finds no visible impact. No empirical study has found a negative impact.

And since I want to reduce the burden of government spending, let’s see whether school choice is good news for taxpayers.

Six empirical studies have examined school choice’s fiscal impact on taxpayers. All six find that school choice saves money for taxpayers. No empirical study has found a negative fiscal impact.

Here’s the breakdown of the studies for all the variables.

School Choice Studies

As you can see, it’s a slam dunk, much as a survey of tax research found that nearly 90 percent of academic studies concluded that class-warfare tax policy is destructive.

Some of the tax research was inconclusive, but not a single study supported the notion that higher tax rates are good for growth, much as this new research from the Friedman Foundation didn’t uncover a single study that found negative results from school choice.

So with lots of positive research and no negative research, why would anybody oppose school choice? Unfortunately, politicians like Barack Obama and groups such as the NAACP side with teacher unions, putting political power ahead of progress and opportunity for kids.

P.S. Here’s a video explaining why school choice is better than a government-run monopoly.

P.P.S. There’s also strong evidence for school choice from nations such as Sweden, Chile, and the Netherlands.

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The Empirical Evidence on School Choice

Milton Friedman on School Vouchers

_______________

Just the facts Mam.

APRIL 18, 2013 5:17PM

School Choice Works

The evidence is in: school choice works. Yesterday, the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice released their third edition of their report “A Win-Win Solution: The Empirical Evidence on School Choice.” The report provides a literature review of dozens of high-quality studies of school choice programs around the country, including studies from scholars at Harvard University, Stanford University, Cornell University, the University of Arkansas, the Brookings Institution, and the Federal Reserve Bank. The studies examine the impact of school choice programs on the academic performance of participants and public school students, the fiscal impact on taxpayers, racial segregation, and civic values.

The report’s key findings included the following:

  • Twelve empirical studies have examined academic outcomes for school choice participants using random assignment, the “gold standard” of social science. Of these, 11 find that choice improves student outcomes—six that all students benefit and five that some benefit and some are not affected. One study finds no visible impact. No empirical study has found a negative impact.
  • Twenty-three empirical studies (including all methods) have examined school choice’s impact on academic outcomes in public schools. Of these, 22 find that choice improves public schools and one finds no visible impact. No empirical study has found that choice harms public schools.
  • Six empirical studies have examined school choice’s fiscal impact on taxpayers. All six find that school choice saves money for taxpayers. No empirical study has found a negative fiscal impact.
  • Eight empirical studies have examined school choice and racial segregation in schools. Of these, seven find that school choice moves students from more segregated schools into less segregated schools. One finds no net effect on segregation from school choice. No empirical study has found that choice increases racial segregation.
  • Seven empirical studies have examined school choice’s impact on civic values and practices such as respect for the rights of others and civic knowledge. Of these, five find that school choice improves civic values and practices. Two find no visible impact from school choice. No empirical study has found that school choice has a negative impact on civic values and practices.

On the same day, a new study from researchers at Harvard University and the Brookings Institution found that a school choice program boosted college enrollment among African-American participants by 24 percent.

While many of the findings show only modest improvement, they consistently show that school choice programs produce the same or superior results across a gamut of measures. Moreover, not all the benefits of choice are easily measurable. Some families are looking for a school that better meets a student’s special needs, instills the parents’ values, inspires a lifelong love of learning, or where a student is safe from bullying. These outcomes are sometimes difficult if not impossible to measure in the aggregate, but parents are in the best position to tell the difference for their own children.

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Open letter to President Obama (Part 301) (D.C. Public Schools Spend Almost $30,000 Per Student)

Milton Friedman – Public Schools / Voucher System (Q&A) Part 2

Published on May 7, 2012 by

__________

 

President Obama c/o The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I know that you receive 20,000 letters a day and that you actually read 10 of them every day. I really do respect you for trying to get a pulse on what is going on out here.

We need to get competition back again among schools and the voucher system is the best way to do that.

Ericka Andersen

July 25, 2012 at 10:00 am

You would think $30,000 a year would get you a decent education. For just a few thousand more, you could cover the cost of Harvard’s yearly undergraduate tuition or send your child to the prestigious Sidwell Friends School, which the Obama daughters attend.

But spending $30,000 to cover the cost of a child’s education in a district that has one of the lowest graduation rates in the nation and produces some of the country’s lowest achievement scores? Seems a bit steep. But this is the hefty per-pupil bill taxpayers are made to foot for D.C. public schools every year.

Despite this astounding price tag—$29,409 for the 2009–2010 school year, to be exact, compared to the national average of just under $12,500 (both figures are total expenditures calculated on a per-pupil basis, including capital outlays)—the graduation rate for D.C. students hovers around 60 percent, well below the nationwide average of 74 percent. Math and reading scores are also among the lowest in the country.

Andrew Coulson of the Cato Institute, who calculated D.C.’s per-pupil cost, explains that the first time he revealed D.C.’s high per-pupil spending a few years ago, he received considerable pushback. Critics claimed his estimate was too high and was inconsistent with the Census Bureau’s numbers.

“Indeed, the Census Bureau figures for DC’s total K-12 expenditures were substantially lower than mine,” he explains.

Why the inconsistency?

“It turns out, [Census] got [D.C. spending data] from a DCPS [D.C. Public Schools] official,” notes Coulson. “We presented evidence to the Bureau that that DCPS official had missed a few line items when completing the Census Bureau’s forms—to the tune of about $400 million.” Census agreed, and their “data now show DC spent a total of $29,409 per pupil.”

When it comes to improving education, more spending has failed to achieve results.

On the other hand, the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (DCOSP), which provides scholarships to low-income students in the nation’s capital to attend private schools of their choice, not only produces significantly higher graduation rates than D.C. public schools but costs significantly less. A DCOSP scholarship stands at just $8,000 for a K-8 student or $12,000 for a 9-12 grade student.

Children in D.C. and around the nation deserve the best opportunity for academic success, and taxpayers deserve that their dollars be used effectively. Rather than investing more in the same failed approaches, policymakers and local leaders should look to innovative reforms, including school choice, to improve education and give students the brightest hope for a promising future.

________________

Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733, lowcostsqueegees@yahoo.com